McMaster University

McMaster University

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I find out how much credit I can get in the Pain Medicine Residency for rotations done during my primary specialty?

A: You must submit proof of training, with as much detail as possible about the objectives and content of your rotation to the Credentials Unit of the Royal College. They will make a decision as to whether your training meets the criteria laid out in the Pain Medicine Objectives of Training, and Specialty Training Requirements. The Royal College makes the final decision, not the Program Director.

Q: Can I apply to the Pain Medicine Residency if my residency was done in a country other than Canada?

A: To be eligible for the Pain Medicine Residency, you must be certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or be enrolled in a program leading to certification in one of Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Psychiatry, Rheumatology, (see requirements for these qualifications). Entry from the following Royal College accredited disciplines is possible in exceptional cases with the approval of the Specialty Committee in Pain Medicine: Medical Oncology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, or Palliative Medicine.

Q: What is the application fee?

A: The current application fee is $865.00 Canadian. The actual examination fee is an additional $2005.00.

Q: How many times can I write the examination?

A: Applicants are granted three attempts at the certification examinations. If the applicant is unsuccessful after three attempts, they will be required to submit another application for renewal of examination eligibility.

Q: What documentation do I need to submit to the Royal College to apply for the Practice Eligibility Route to certification?

A: The following forums must be submitted to the Office of Education Credentials Unit: Pain Medicine Scope of Practice; Referee Verification (RV): Comprehensive Competency Report (CCR), as well as a Currculum Vitae and three letters of reference. Two assessors appointed by the Specialty Committee in Pain Medicine must jointly complete the applicant's Comprehensive Competency Report (CCR). Once approved by the Credentials Unit, the application package is forwarded to the Specialty Committee for the final approval. If the review is positive, eligibility to the certification examination is granted.

Q: Will I be eligible to write the certification examination if I have completed a one year fellowship in the Department of Anesthesiology at a Canadian university?

A: The Royal College regulations state that in the first 1-5 years of practice, you will be eligible if you have completed a training that is equivalent in length to the current Pain Medicine residency. If it was only one year, you will have to wait until you have been in practice more than 5 years, and then may apply to write the examination through the Practice-Eligibility Route.

Q: Would family practitioners working in the area of chronic/cancer pain management for over 5 years in Canada be eligible to apply for certification through the Practice Eligible route?

A: No, not at this time.The Pain Medicine Specialty Committee always intended that the College of Family Physicians of Canada graduates be allowed to sit the examination, but, in 2012, the CFPC was strongly opposed on the grounds that they did not support subspecialization of family practitioners.

Q: I am an anesthesiologist in practice in a university-affiliated pain clinic in Canada for 12 years seeing patients with both cancer and non-cancer pain two days a week. For me, what would be the benefits of Royal College certification?

A: It is anticipated that within 5-8 years, at university-affiliated pain clinics, in order to obtain a faculty appointment, and access to the clinic personnel and interventional facilities, Pain Medicine certification will be a requirement. It is possible that provincial Ministries of Health may create a differential fee structure, favoring those holding certification, though this is neither within the mandate or intent of the Pain Medicine Specialty Committee.

It is also likely that, within 5 years, Pain management competencies will be mandatory at the medical undergraduate and postgraduate level; the expectation will be that the education leaders will be Pain Medicine graduates.

For those planning to work in community clinics, both regulatory approval and provincial funding will be more readily obtained by clinics who are directed by or have staff physicians certified in Pain Medicine.

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